Primal Horror Movies

First, do you have Amazon Prime Video?

In this episode I rattle off short previews of horror movies included in the Amazon Prime Video membership. I subscribe and I watch a lot of my horror movies on there. It’s amazing. I was not paid to share that!

I hope to do more of these posts for other services like Netflix, stay tuned. Here’s a sample search pasted from IMDB of some of the great horror films on Prime. I mention a lot of them in this show.

The Amityville Horror

1. The Amityville Horror (1979)

R | 117 min | Horror

28 Metascore

Newlyweds move into a large house where a mass murder was committed, and experience strange manifestations which drive them away.

Director: Stuart Rosenberg | Stars: James BrolinMargot KidderRod SteigerDon Stroud

Votes: 32,814 | Gross: $86.43M

A Quiet Place

2. A Quiet Place (2018)

PG-13 | 90 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

82 Metascore

In a post-apocalyptic world, a family is forced to live in silence while hiding from monsters with ultra-sensitive hearing.

Director: John Krasinski | Stars: Emily BluntJohn KrasinskiMillicent SimmondsNoah Jupe

Votes: 325,056 | Gross: $188.02M

The Strangers: Prey at Night

3. The Strangers: Prey at Night (2018)

R | 85 min | Horror

48 Metascore

A family of four staying at a secluded mobile home park for the night are stalked and then hunted by three masked psychopaths.

Director: Johannes Roberts | Stars: Christina HendricksMartin HendersonBailee MadisonLewis Pullman

Votes: 22,921 | Gross: $24.43M


4. Mother! (2017)

R | 121 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

75 Metascore

A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.

Director: Darren Aronofsky | Stars: Jennifer LawrenceJavier BardemEd HarrisMichelle Pfeiffer

Votes: 164,636 | Gross: $17.80M

Stake Land

5. Stake Land (2010)

R | 98 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

66 Metascore

In a world of vampires, an expert vampire hunter and his young protégé travel toward sanctuary.

Director: Jim Mickle | Stars: Connor PaoloNick DamiciKelly McGillisGregory Jones

Votes: 39,093 | Gross: $0.02M


6. Annihilation (2018)

R | 115 min | Adventure, Drama, Horror

79 Metascore

A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition into a mysterious zone where the laws of nature don’t apply.

Director: Alex Garland | Stars: Natalie PortmanJennifer Jason LeighTessa ThompsonBenedict Wong

Votes: 239,937 | Gross: $32.73M

Bone Tomahawk

7. Bone Tomahawk (2015)

Not Rated | 132 min | Drama, Horror, Western

72 Metascore

In the dying days of the old west, an elderly sheriff and his posse set out to rescue their town’s doctor from cannibalistic cave dwellers.

Director: S. Craig Zahler | Stars: Kurt RussellPatrick WilsonMatthew FoxRichard Jenkins

Votes: 73,769


8. Gothika (2003)

R | 98 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

38 Metascore

A depressed female psychiatrist wakes up as a patient in the asylum where she worked, with no memory of why she is there or what she has done.

Director: Mathieu Kassovitz | Stars: Halle BerryPenélope CruzRobert Downey Jr.Charles S. Dutton

Votes: 101,611 | Gross: $59.69M

The Exorcist III

9. The Exorcist III (1990)

R | 110 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

48 Metascore

A police Lieutenant uncovers more than he bargained for as his investigation of a series of murders, which have all the hallmarks of the deceased Gemini serial killer, leads him to question the patients of a psychiatric ward.

Director: William Peter Blatty | Stars: George C. ScottEd FlandersBrad DourifJason Miller

Votes: 22,403 | Gross: $26.10M

Children of the Corn

10. Children of the Corn (1984)

R | 92 min | Horror, Thriller

45 Metascore

A young couple is trapped in a remote town where a dangerous religious cult of children believe everyone over the age of 18 must be killed.

Director: Fritz Kiersch | Stars: Peter HortonLinda HamiltonR.G. ArmstrongJohn Franklin

Votes: 43,566 | Gross: $14.57M

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

11. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

PG | 115 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

75 Metascore

When seeds drift to earth from space, mysterious pods begin to grow and invade a small town, replicating the residents one body at a time.

Director: Philip Kaufman | Stars: Donald SutherlandBrooke AdamsJeff GoldblumVeronica Cartwright

Votes: 47,278 | Gross: $24.95M

The Stakelander

12. The Stakelander (2016)

TV-MA | 81 min | Action, Drama, Horror


When his home of New Eden is destroyed by a revitalized Brotherhood and its new Vamp leader, Martin finds himself alone in the badlands of America with only the distant memory of his mentor and legendary vampire hunter, Mister, to guide him.

Directors: Dan BerkRobert Olsen | Stars: Connor PaoloNick DamiciLaura AbramsenA.C. Peterson

Votes: 2,791

Rosemary's Baby

13. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

R | 137 min | Drama, Horror

96 Metascore

A young couple moves in to an apartment only to be surrounded by peculiar neighbors and occurrences. When the wife becomes mysteriously pregnant, paranoia over the safety of her unborn child begins to control her life.

Director: Roman Polanski | Stars: Mia FarrowJohn CassavetesRuth GordonSidney Blackmer

Votes: 174,017

Night of the Living Dead

14. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Not Rated | 96 min | Horror

89 Metascore

A ragtag group of Pennsylvanians barricade themselves in an old farmhouse to remain safe from a bloodthirsty, flesh-eating breed of monsters who are ravaging the East Coast of the United States.

Director: George A. Romero | Stars: Duane JonesJudith O’DeaKarl HardmanMarilyn Eastman

Votes: 106,902 | Gross: $0.09M


15. Nosferatu (1922)

Not Rated | 81 min | Fantasy, Horror


Vampire Count Orlok expresses interest in a new residence and real estate agent Hutter’s wife.

Director: F.W. Murnau | Stars: Max SchreckAlexander GranachGustav von WangenheimGreta Schröder

Votes: 81,999

Goodnight Mommy

16. Goodnight Mommy (2014)

R | 99 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

81 Metascore

Twin boys move to a new home with their mother after she has face changing cosmetic surgery, but under her bandages is someone the children don’t recognize.

Directors: Severin FialaVeronika Franz | Stars: Lukas SchwarzElias SchwarzSusanne WuestHans Escher

Votes: 37,007 | Gross: $1.17M

Ginger Snaps

17. Ginger Snaps (2000)

Not Rated | 108 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

70 Metascore

Two death-obsessed sisters, outcasts in their suburban neighborhood, must deal with the tragic consequences when one of them is bitten by a deadly werewolf.

Director: John Fawcett | Stars: Emily PerkinsKatharine IsabelleKris LemcheMimi Rogers

Votes: 38,752 | Gross: $0.00M

Long Weekend

18. Long Weekend (1978)

Not Rated | 97 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller


When a suburban couple go camping for the weekend at a remote beach, they discover that nature isn’t in an accommodating mood.

Director: Colin Eggleston | Stars: John HargreavesBriony BehetsMike McEwenRoy Day

Votes: 3,568

Turbo Kid

19. Turbo Kid (2015)

Not Rated | 93 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

60 Metascore

In a post-apocalyptic wasteland in 1997, a comic book fan adopts the persona of his favourite hero to save his enthusiastic friend and fight a tyrannical overlord.

Directors: François SimardAnouk WhissellYoann-Karl Whissell | Stars: Munro ChambersLaurence LeboeufMichael IronsideEdwin Wright

Votes: 24,329 | Gross: $0.05M

Willow Creek

20. Willow Creek (2013)

Not Rated | 80 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

62 Metascore

Jim and his girlfriend Kelly are visiting the infamous Willow Creek, the alleged home of the original Bigfoot legend – the tale of huge ape like creatures that roam the forests of North … See full summary »

Director: Bobcat Goldthwait | Stars: Alexie GilmoreBryce JohnsonLaura MontagnaBucky Sinister

Votes: 9,575

Final Girl

21. Final Girl (2015)

R | 90 min | Horror, Thriller


A man teaches a young woman how to become a complete weapon. Later she is approached by a group of sadistic teens who kill blonde women for unknown reasons. The hunting season begins.

Director: Tyler Shields | Stars: Abigail BreslinWes BentleyLogan HuffmanAlexander Ludwig

Votes: 12,697

The Return of the Living Dead

22. The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

R | 91 min | Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi

66 Metascore

When two bumbling employees at a medical supply warehouse accidentally release a deadly gas into the air, the vapors cause the dead to rise again as zombies.

Director: Dan O’Bannon | Stars: Clu GulagerJames KarenDon CalfaThom Mathews

Votes: 50,120 | Gross: $14.24M

House on Haunted Hill

23. House on Haunted Hill (1959)

Not Rated | 75 min | Horror, Mystery


A millionaire offers $10,000 to five people who agree to be locked in a large, spooky, rented house overnight with him and his wife.

Director: William Castle | Stars: Vincent PriceCarol OhmartRichard LongAlan Marshal

Votes: 20,663

The House on Pine Street

24. The House on Pine Street (2015)

111 min | Drama, Horror


A psychological horror about a young woman coping with an unwanted pregnancy after moving into a seemingly haunted house.

Directors: Aaron KeelingAustin Keeling | Stars: Emily GossTaylor BottlesCathy BarnettJim Korinke

Votes: 1,797


25. Afflicted (2013)

R | 85 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

56 Metascore

Two best friends see their trip of a lifetime take a dark turn when one of them is struck by a mysterious affliction. Now, in a foreign land, they race to uncover the source before it consumes him completely.

Directors: Derek LeeClif Prowse | Stars: Clif ProwseDerek LeeMichael GillBaya Rehaz

Votes: 20,392 | Gross: $0.12M

We Are What We Are

26. We Are What We Are (2013)

R | 105 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

71 Metascore

The Parkers, a reclusive family who follow ancient customs, find their secret existence threatened as a torrential downpour moves into their area, forcing daughters Iris and Rose to assume responsibilities beyond those of a typical family.

Director: Jim Mickle | Stars: Bill SageAmbyr ChildersJulia GarnerWyatt Russell

Votes: 18,607 | Gross: $0.08M

The Midnight Meat Train

27. The Midnight Meat Train (2008)

R | 100 min | Horror, Mystery

58 Metascore

A photographer’s obsessive pursuit of dark subject matter leads him into the path of a serial killer who stalks late night commuters, ultimately butchering them in the most gruesome ways imaginable.

Director: Ryûhei Kitamura | Stars: Vinnie JonesBradley CooperLeslie BibbBrooke Shields

Votes: 56,263 | Gross: $0.08M

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

28. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)

R | 92 min | Comedy, Horror, Thriller

66 Metascore

The next great psycho horror slasher has given a documentary crew exclusive access to his life as he plans his reign of terror over the sleepy town of Glen Echo.

Director: Scott Glosserman | Stars: Nathan BaeselAngela GoethalsZelda RubinsteinRobert Englund

Votes: 20,066 | Gross: $0.07M

What Lies Beneath

29. What Lies Beneath (2000)

PG-13 | 130 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

51 Metascore

The wife of a university research scientist believes that her lakeside Vermont home is haunted by a ghost – or that she is losing her mind.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Harrison FordMichelle PfeifferKatharine TowneMiranda Otto

Votes: 111,482 | Gross: $155.46M

Carnival of Souls

30. Carnival of Souls (1962)

PG | 78 min | Horror, Mystery


After a traumatic accident, a woman becomes drawn to a mysterious abandoned carnival.

Director: Herk Harvey | Stars: Candace HilligossFrances FeistSidney BergerArt Ellison

Votes: 18,234


31. Animal (I) (2014)

Not Rated | 86 min | Action, Adventure, Drama


When plans for a weekend vacation hit a dead end, a group of close-knit friends find themselves stranded in unfamiliar territory, pursued by a menacing, blood thirsty predator.

Director: Brett Simmons | Stars: Joey Lauren AdamsElizabeth GilliesPaul IaconoThorsten Kaye

Votes: 5,947

The Reef

32. The Reef (2010)

R | 94 min | Adventure, Drama, Horror


A great white shark hunts the crew of a capsized sailboat along the Great Barrier Reef.

Director: Andrew Traucki | Stars: Damian Walshe-HowlingGyton GrantleyAdrienne PickeringZoe Naylor

Votes: 15,620

Wake Wood

33. Wake Wood (2009)

R | 90 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller


The parents of a girl who was killed by a savage dog are granted the opportunity to spend three days with their deceased daughter.

Director: David Keating | Stars: Aidan GillenEva BirthistleTimothy SpallElla Connolly

Votes: 7,582

I Spit on Your Grave

34. I Spit on Your Grave (2010)

R | 108 min | Horror, Thriller

27 Metascore

A writer who is brutalized during her cabin retreat seeks revenge on her attackers, who left her for dead.

Director: Steven R. Monroe | Stars: Sarah ButlerJeff BransonAndrew HowardDaniel Franzese

Votes: 69,817 | Gross: $0.09M

Dog Soldiers

35. Dog Soldiers (2002)

R | 105 min | Action, Horror, Thriller


A routine military exercise turns into a nightmare in the Scotland wilderness.

Director: Neil Marshall | Stars: Sean PertweeKevin McKiddEmma CleasbyLiam Cunningham

Votes: 52,236


36. Dreamscape (1984)

PG-13 | 99 min | Action, Adventure, Horror


A young psychic on the run from himself is recruited by a government agency experimenting with the use of the dream-sharing technology and is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of the U.S. president.

Director: Joseph Ruben | Stars: Dennis QuaidMax von SydowChristopher PlummerEddie Albert

Votes: 12,816 | Gross: $11.48M

The Alchemist Cookbook

37. The Alchemist Cookbook (2016)

82 min | Drama, Horror

73 Metascore

Suffering from delusions of fortune, a young hermit hides out in the forest hoping to crack an ancient mystery, but pays a price for his mania.

Director: Joel Potrykus | Stars: Ty HicksonAmari CheatomFiji

Votes: 931

The Love Witch

38. The Love Witch (2016)

Unrated | 120 min | Comedy, Horror, Romance

82 Metascore

A modern-day witch uses spells and magic to get men to fall in love with her, with deadly consequences.

Director: Anna Biller | Stars: Samantha RobinsonJeffrey Vincent PariseLaura WaddellGian Keys

Votes: 9,939 | Gross: $0.23M


39. Borderland (2007)

R | 105 min | Crime, Horror, Thriller


On a trip to a Mexican border town, three college friends stumble upon a human-sacrifice cult.

Director: Zev Berman | Stars: Brian PresleyJake MuxworthyRider StrongBeto Cuevas

Votes: 9,032

Child's Play

40. Child’s Play (1988)

R | 87 min | Horror, Thriller

58 Metascore

A single mother gives her son a much sought-after doll for his birthday, only to discover that it is possessed by the soul of a serial killer.

Director: Tom Holland | Stars: Catherine HicksChris SarandonAlex VincentBrad Dourif

Votes: 80,278 | Gross: $33.24M


41. Hellraiser (1987)

R | 94 min | Horror, Thriller

57 Metascore

An unfaithful wife encounters the zombie of her dead lover; the demonic cenobites are pursuing him after he escaped their sadomasochistic underworld.

Director: Clive Barker | Stars: Andrew RobinsonClare HigginsAshley LaurenceSean Chapman

Votes: 93,981 | Gross: $14.56M

Most Beautiful Island

42. Most Beautiful Island (2017)

80 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

73 Metascore

Most Beautiful Island is a chilling portrait of an undocumented young woman’s struggle for survival as she finds redemption from a tortured past in a dangerous game.

Director: Ana Asensio | Stars: Ana AsensioNatasha RomanovaDavid LittleNicholas Tucci

Votes: 2,515

The Dark Half

43. The Dark Half (1993)

R | 122 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

53 Metascore

A writer’s fictional alter ego wants to take over his life…at any price.

Director: George A. Romero | Stars: Timothy HuttonAmy MadiganMichael RookerJulie Harris

Votes: 14,695 | Gross: $9.58M

The Village (2004)

This is my audio review of The Village (2004). Directed by M. Night Shyamalan. With Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt, Joaquin Phoenix, Bryce Dallas Howard. A series of events tests the beliefs of a small isolated countryside village.

It is a much loved film by me and select few others. It didn’t do amazingly at the box office but I find this spooky film mesmerizing and profound. Have a listen and find out why. I welcome your comments here on the site or on my twitter @thedrpodcast NOTE: This is film #24 in my current podcast series I call “Damien’s Top 20 Spooky Horror Films.” Tune in next week when I cover #23 “Head Count (2018).”

The Strangers: Prey at Night

Join me as I walk through this scary horror movie from 2018.

I thought it looked cheesy when the tagline was “Let Us Prey.” and derivative but SOMETHING WAS TELLING ME ABOUT STRANGERS 2.

This film is now as of writing this review streaming on Prime Video

I saw the big guys’ low scores but SOMETHING WAS TELLING ME ABOUT STRANGERS 2
It came and went with a whimper in cinema SOMETHING WAS TELLING ME ABOUT STRANGERS 2
And that something was right!

Our director here is Johannes Roberts, the director also of “47 Meters Down.” While that is a far from perfect movie, it works as shark horror/suspense and it takes creative chances all over the place.I found it to be one of my favorites last year. The director shows himself to be simple as well, I like that a lot.

I’ve given you the synopsis as always so I’ll skip the pleasantries. I loved the dark look of this film. I loved the idea of being isolated, which each victim is at one point or another. Being face to face literally a foot away from your killer is another amazing visual. Oh and let us not forget the ideal usage of the masks and the axe.

Finally, I liked the element of the victims going into fight or flight or panic attacks. When the brother is using the phone his hand is violently shaking. That’s how it would be. I don’t know about you but I get sick and tired of perfect heroes in horror who seem to know just what to do with their crossbow etc. This is real, it’s way more scary.

After getting through the first 1/4 of the film, I loved every minute thereafter. I’m not sure how necessary that first 1/4 was. I give the film a 9/10.

Hell Fest: Plot Summary

Outstanding indie horror. I went in expecting not much and walked out blown away. This was a super duper fun film and I recommend it to all horror/slasher fans. Listen to more I have to say about it in this full walkthrough. This is an audio walkthrough of a horror film. I take you through the 2018 horror slasher film “Hell Fest.” I loved this featured movie (as usual).


A creepy, atmospheric, dark horror film, my favorite kind. Incredible cinematography and acting. The lead woman is hot. If you enjoyed this film, come walk through it again with me, it will be fun >:)

Amores Perros

Alejandro González Iñárritu’s debut film is amazing. I finally got around to watching it and did a show on it here for fellow fans.

Amores Perros (2000)
Amores perros (original title)
R | 2h 34min | Drama, Thriller | 13 April 2001 (USA)
Amores Perros Poster
A horrific car accident connects three stories, each involving characters dealing with loss, regret, and life’s harsh realities, all in the name of love.
Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu (as Alejandro González Iñárritu)
Writer: Guillermo Arriaga (as Guillermo Arriaga Jordán)
Stars: Emilio Echevarría, Gael García Bernal, Goya Toledo

Two Lovers and a Bear

I love the novels of Jack London where there’s sure to be snow, whiskey, white fanged husky dogs and other Alaskan treasures. Nature “bites” in this film where we have a couple trying to fight back their demons in this harsh place. Is it a romance? Well, lets examine that too.

Enter Hemingway, Melville, London … you will like what’s being served at this table. We’ve heard of nature being our indifferent enemy but what to do when that enemy is our own nature. We have not yet begun that process in film and literature, but it’s here in this film … along with a few others through the years.

Two Lovers and a Bear (2016)
R | 1h 36min | Drama, Romance | 16 December 2016 (USA)

Set in a small town near the North Pole where roads lead to nowhere, the story follows Roman (DeHaan) and Lucy (Maslany), two burning souls who come together to make a leap for life and inner peace.
Director: Kim Nguyen
Writer: Kim Nguyen
Stars: Dane DeHaan, Tatiana Maslany, Gordon Pinsent
I almost always love the film when the director also wrote the film. In this case it is Kim Nguyen doing both artistic roles. My hat goes off to him, and I assume he wears a hat also because like me, he is shaved bald. (Gotta love the brother!). I don’t know much about him other than he is known for this and two other films and he is a Canadian: War Witch (2012), Two Lovers and a Bear (2016) and The Marsh (2002). I would put stock in him because this film is something quite different than we are used to seeing. Human v Nature/Human v Self. It’s a gritty psychological drama and God forbid IMDB plot keywords would let us toil in ignorance of these features:

“Plot Keywords: sex on table | sex scene | topless female nudity | female nudity”

Yes, Orphan Black star, Tatiana Maslany, bares her breasts. That’s the easy part of nature no one is too worried about.

All these facts plus the plot basically is two lovers at the North Pole in a barely functioning town. Why they are there is not explicitly mentioned, at least not as much as the breasts are displayed. 😉 There is something about an abusive father in her past and he … likes the drink and he likes the hard drink. Sometimes you gotta just go “right now.” Other times maybe your demons are better dealt with by a heater. This couple is fraught with demons and they decide it’s time to go into the snow, into the storm but not without the help of a very helpful? bear. Dane DeHaan seems to like him. BTW DeHaan is there and does a good job as such. Not much more is needed from the, I wonder if he even likes the White Stripes.

This is no family movie. It’s also not a sweet romance, unless you think of Moby Dick as romantic. Having said that, there is a lot to think about romance here, maybe how “not” to support a lover with baggage. For a gritty tale of love? turmoil and t*** on a table, I do recommend.



Horns is a drama/horror film from 2014. I love it, despite the lackluster ratings. Join me as a ruminate on this awesome horror film that I have loved for years.

Terminator: Dark Fate, 2019 – ★★★★½

I came to the Terminator party late. In fact it was only after I saw this particular film that I decided the whole franchise was worth a look. Isn’t that what good sequels should do? For me, the graphics were the most amazing thing. It can’t be denied they spared no expense and went way out and beyond what even the groundbreaking T2 did with the mercury like effect.

Here, they use all the modern toys to make this feel like you are actually there, among the robots and even yourself threatened by them. Because the graphics are so perfect, it’s been said before better than I can say it here. I’d rather talk about this film on the merits of its characters which, although less that perfect, make this film so very good and so very accessible to someone who isn’t necessarily a huge Terminator fan. Let me take you through my impressions of how 2 key characters made this film work well for me.

First: Sarah Connor’s character. She is back and with a vengeance, I was so excited seeing her on the screen. Of course her casting was perfect. Some might argue she is past her prime and therefore they could have gotten a more glamorous woman to play the role. I say bullshit, the only one to play her role is her. I must admit though at times I thought the script was good but too much for her as an actor. I think she is better as a “Rambo” type that we hear few lines from. Then again, this is the type of film that relies more on graphics and action for its entertainment.

It was probably not noticed by many that her acting is bad and that’s good. I know she played in “Beauty and the Beast” alongside Ron Perelman as Beast early on in her career. We know she can act so maybe it was more the fault of the writing. Casting and appearance. Nonetheless, seeing her re-emerge onto the screen as modern day Sarah was beyond exciting despite any fumbles in acting.

The new villain Terminator was outstanding. He had big shoes to fill but he pulled it off masterfully. I think asking him Hispanic with the highly Mexican story-line was also a very wise choice. His script was successfully peppered with “Bro/Hermano” type dialect trying to get ingratiated into the border patrol’s good graces. It worked every time. He was scary, sexy, and believable too.

Of course Arnold and Mackenzie bring loads of talent to the screen in this one. Arnold’s new Terminator, “Carl,” has tons to say that falls into the quotable comedy relief section. Both are to be commended but I think the prior two I mentioned bring the most to the film that make it great. Because the acting and script was sometimes hit and miss, I gave it a 9/10. I definitely recommend it.

Across the Hall, 2009 – ★★★★★

I am so glad I discovered “Across the Hall” on my watchlist to watch today. As a reviewer of film I usually have many films there but I don’t always know which to watch first. I went with this because it was accessible on tubi for free w/ads, it said it was horror, which it is not, my favorite genre, and last but not least, it stars the sexy bombshell Brittany Murphy. It was better than I expected. I love it when a movie uses simplicity to its advantage and offers an experience that belies its ease. But chronological storytelling isn’t the approach here, the director unfurls the plot through bouncing to and fro in time.

In perfect step with the simplicity, this film was derived from a short the director Alex Merkin made 3 years prior. It’s noticeable right away that he has given much thought to the costumery and sets. It takes place in a lavish old hotel in New York City. It’s a bit lackluster though, like it was posh at one time but now it’s receded into an hourly house of covert acts. They are trying to improve it though. We see the bellman who runs the place taking reservations and walking customers to their rooms for seemingly surreptitious reasons. Macro views and clues through depth of field focus help serve a simple sense that the director knows exactly what he is doing. It’s a well-told story, trust you can relax and enjoy the telling. Part of this story is told through dialog.

The script is simple and to the point. I would imagine it’s not as many pages as most thrillers, There isn’t much to read between the lines, though some gems are there if you catch them. It is after all not a horror but a thriller/mystery. We aren’t given much other than the setting at first and it’s through conversations on cell phones that we are given the initial clues as to what’s going on. With many thriller focusing on long “hip” dialog, “Pulp Fiction” comes to mind, these lines are refreshingly sparse and, as I have already said, thickly effective. But chronological storytelling isn’t the approach here, the director unfurls the plot through bouncing to and fro in time.

The timeline in “Across the Hall” is simple yet it was likely not simple to create. Each time we get a new space in time there is a little clue. There are about 3 really big ones. All of them are necessary to understanding the plot and worth waiting for. Be careful with prejudices against the “bad guy,” you may be surprised in the end or then again, maybe not. I have seen a lot of movies fuck up this “in and out of time” approach, this ones uses it masterfully.

There’s a season of “American Horror Story” that takes place in a hotel, think of those colors. This is a highly visual film where much thought was given to every aspect not the least of which the casting: Brittany Murphy looks very very good. But above all, I appreciate the way this film uses simplicity to its advantage making it a perfect mystery/thriller.